Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thinking too much, Much too late

Three days to go before my surgery. I’m not sure how I am supposed to be feeling, although I am sure that I should be sleeping by now. On one hand, I am so excited to cut this cancer out and know that it is gone. On the other, the price of that is waking up without a portion of me.

I could have taken the easy way out. Let me correct that…there is no easy way out of cancer. But for me, it would have been much easier at work, financially, and emotionally to have chosen the lumpectomy. It is the right choice for many many women and I don’t mean their road is an easy one in any way. It just begins looking easy when facing the alternative. For me, both options mean chemo, baldness, etc. But, on one hand being back at work in 4 days and having no follow-up surgery sounds easier right now. I could wake up with “the girls” (as I’ve begun to call them) and continue our lives together.

But, make no mistake. I want this surgery. I’m just filled with anxiety about how I will feel once it’s done. Will I regret not appreciating them all of these years? Or will I feel a wave of relief? I’m, betting the answer is both. Thankfully I’ve already seen the handiwork of my plastic surgeon. Man, he’s good! He can recreate anything! So, that helps a lot.

It’s the wait for the recreation that’s been seeming overwhelming. But, I think the combo of those little orange pills and my new "back to work" boob garments are making that a little less scary. Besides we're setting a clear precedent with the rest of my body. Turn on me, and you too can end up in the hazmat bucket! You'd think they would have caught on after the appendix and gall bladder...

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

You know I obviously never was a boy scout, but there's something to that "always be prepared" thing. I have had the best possible day getting prepared for this surgery, treatment, and recovery. I know that some people want to hide their face in the sand when they get a diagnosis like this. That never occurred to me. Instead, I have spent every free moment learning everything I can about what I will need and how to handle the aftermath. I figure as much as I can do beforehand the better. I don't want to be blindsided again like I was the day I found out I might lose my eyelashes. That almost killed me because I didn't see it coming. I crumbled, cried a river, and bared my soul to a stranger. But, who thinks of that??? So, I decided no matter how ugly, it was better to know than wake up one day and find out while it was happening.

So, I had another appointment at All About You this morning. I went in to try on the hair that I ordered a couple of weeks ago. I chose it because it looked most like my hair now. Turns out, I didn't like it. I guess originally I wanted to look as inconspicuous as possible. Maybe if I looked exactly the same, I would be the same, or something... But, you know, I'm not the same! And, I'm not going to be the same. So, instead, I got the hair I've always wanted. It's beautiful and doesn't look anything like this naturally curly stuff I've had my ENTIRE life. (Trust me those of you who think that's a blessing, count your own in that department.) I'm almost so excited about it that I want to start treatment tomorrow...but of course, not really.

I'm also blessed with a wonderful company that is graciously providing me with two more wigs. It is our business, afterall. (I can't exactly train all of our salespeople around the US and Canada how to sell hair products into professional salons bald, now can I?) The people that have helped me there are incredible and they don't even know me personally. They've been wonderful and that's two more "looks" I get to sport. I will be able to pick my hair each morning like a shirt or jewelry. Interesting concept..maybe I can sleep later.

I guess there's just a lesson in every day of this journey. Today's scripture that comes to mind is this one: "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks IN all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I don't have to be thankful FOR the cancer. But I am thankful IN it.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Five Days and Counting...

So since I have gotten back from vacation, I have tried to get ready as best as I can for what’s ahead of me. I’ve “hair” shopped and ordered my wigs. Claimed back a dog bed I spent too much on from Duke that he NEVER would use anyway. Not once! I used to be mad at him for that. My cancer book says I’ll need it for lying in the bathroom floor after chemo. I’ve talked to Brayden about what’s coming and how Mommy isn’t going to have any hair. Been to countless doctor visits, and gotten all of my ducks in a row at work. I’ve also learned that for the first time in my life I am going to have to get comfortable with accepting help from others. I’ve always been willing to give help, but never been comfortable receiving any for myself. 10-4 God, I got it this time. Wish I learned things easier ways….

I’ve also been completely surprised by the unbelievable outpouring of love from almost everyone I know. I am soooo blessed. I had no idea how many people loved me. Thank you all for everything. I couldn’t have better friends or work with better people. The strangest part to me is the unbelievable kindness of strangers and how many incredible blessings are buried in the biggest battle I’ve faced. Some of the most important moments in getting through the last few weeks have come from people that I don’t even know. Friends of friends, perfect strangers, people I have passed in the hall for 4 years at work but didn’t know, and other women I still don’t who’ve walked this path.
It’s incredible how it all seems to be coming together. I’ve taken hold of the details and relinquished everything else. I feel certain about the final outcome, but terrified of what it’s going to take to get there. I’m staying focused on James 1:2-4. In the midst of it all, there really IS joy. I’m also saying “Thank You” a lot. Try it. Say it to EVERYONE for EVERYTHING…real, heart-felt Thank you’s. They have amazing power. They also freak some people out a little. Do it anyway.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mexico, Surgeons & BIG Decisions

So, I had a wonderful vacation in Mexico with the family. There is no place on earth I would rather be than Puerto Vallarta. I have 21 years of memories and find peace there like no other place on earth. Plus, Brayden had a great time. It was priceless time with my wonderful family.

During that time, I spoke with my surgeon and spent a bunch of time thinking and praying about what the right course of action should be for my treatment. Needless to say, my scheduled lumpectomy on the 28th didn't happen. Thanks so much to my wonderful surgeon and Debbie, her nurse practitioner. They're both incredible! I'm so sorry to those of you who didn't know about the change and spent Tuesday thinking I was having surgery. It's just been too hard to digest it all, make the right decisions, and keep track of who I've told what to and when. That's one of my other motivations of starting this blog. Please accept my apologies.

So, I now have a double mastectomy planned for the 5th with the first portion of reconstruction. The final "work" has to be done after chemo and radiation, if I need that. Either way, chemo is 8 rounds and going to be tough. I've been told all of my hair will go with the first round. I'm preparing for that. Radiation depends on the final pathology (post-surgery) and if they find more than the one tumor we know about. That's the basics. There's so much more to say, but for now sleep trumps the need to talk about cancer. I'll let you know everything that I can before Wednesday.

©2009 80% Sporadic | by TNB